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The Ultimate Bucket List for Fresh Graduates

The Ultimate Bucket List for Fresh Graduates

Most of us has attempted to complete some form of student bucket list. Tasks from Pub Golf, pulling all-nighters in the library and going out in our PJs, all of which needed achieving before the final semester was through.

So, how about a bucket list for graduates? A guide of things that you need to do to get the most out of life and keep on top of your new responsibilities.

Here it goes — your Graduate Bucket List:

Keep an open mind when it comes to your career

1. Be prepared to zig zag through your career

Leaving a role that brings you no joy does not have to be a negative experience; it can teach you a lot about what you want in your career. Graduate Verity Prentice from Hallmark Care Homes explains how her journalism degree didn’t take her where she’d expected:

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“Working at a publishing house selling advertising space was hard work, but I learnt a lot about marketing and how to sell to the most difficult clients over the phone. I then got a job working in recruitment, before I realised how much I missed journalism and that if I combined my sales skills and journalism skills I could become very good at PR.”

2. Ditch the plan

Life does not go according to plan and lack of experience will hold you back when it comes to your career. While you may hope to get straight into a high level job, it’s important to be realistic about your experience and how this relates to career opportunities.

“I had no marketing experience other than my degree. I ideally wanted a graduate role but my first job was as a digital marketing assistant.”

– Marketing graduate Patrick Robinson, Linx Printing Technologies

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Patrick recognised he didn’t have enough experience to get on a graduate scheme, so he initially took an assistant level role. If this sounds like you then ditch the pride and recognise that you need the experience of an entry level job before you can set your sights on a more senior role.

Start thinking about your financial future

3. Just because you have more money doesn’t mean you should spend it

Student living was tough. But the fact is, you’ll soon find life as a graduate tough, too! Gone are the perks of student discounts, cheap rent, and splitting bills with numerous housemates. Yes, you’ve got more money now that you’re earning, but expenses are higher too. Resist elaborate spending where possible — you’re not a millionaire yet!

4. Learn to live below your means and save at least 10% of your income

Saving money may not be the first thing on your mind upon leaving university, but tucking away 10% of your income into a savings account every month will really pay off.

Graduate incomes and expenditures can initially be very erratic. Live below your means where possible and you will have funds available when you need them, allowing you to avoid costly borrowing.

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5. Learn to save raises, not spend them

As you zig-zag your way up the career ladder, your salary will increase. We’re not saying to sit in the cold rather than put your heating on just to save some pennies, but don’t splurge on luxuries either. Remember everything you learnt about budgeting as a student. Your financial future depends on you being disciplined.

Time is more valuable than money

6. Don’t waste your free time

Gone are the days of mindlessly watching Netflix instead of attending lectures. Trade in time spent watching TV, and use it to build your life experiences. This could include volunteering for a charity — not just to enhance your CV, but for the feel good factor!

Spend time with friends and family; your free time is at a premium when you work 40+ hour weeks, and relationships are equally as precious. Time is more valuable than money, so call your mother, visit your grandparents, and feel warm and fuzzy inside.

7. Learn new skills

The end of university is by no means the end of your educational journey. Take courses, learn new skills, or try out a sport and progress yourself; your life will feel fuller for it. You could even learn a new language — but avoid these common mistakes!

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8. Make your dreams come true

Never take a gap year? It’s not too late to travel the world. If you’re a travel bug, consider saving up for that big trip instead of spending your disposable income on big nights out, DVDs and computer games.

Birds of a feather flock together

9. Value some relationships

Relationships are important, but not with people who always bring you down. Staying in contact with people you used to know — be it from school, university or past jobs should be a good thing. But times change and if those people are not on the same page as you anymore, and spending time with them negatively impacts your life then cut them off now! Troublesome relationships can drag you down and hold you back.

10. Spend more time with your successful, ambitious friends

Their energy, ideas and enthusiasm can really rub off on you. Be sure not to try and compete with them; instead, allow their ambitions and experiences to help drive your own career forward.

Reunions can be a great way of seeing where course mates took their careers. They’re also an ideal time to network, make contacts and connections.

So have at it, graduates. Let the next stage of life begin!

Featured photo credit: Danka & Peter via magdeleine.co via magdeleine.co

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Last Updated on September 20, 2018

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

8 Ways to Train Your Brain to Learn Faster and Remember More

You go to the gym to train your muscles. You run outside or go for hikes to train your endurance. Or, maybe you do neither of those, but still wish you exercised more.

Well, here is how to train one of the most important parts of your body: your brain.

When you train your brain, you will:

  • Avoid embarrassing situations. You remember his face, but what was his name?
  • Be a faster learner in all sorts of different skills. No problem for you to pick up a new language or new management skill.
  • Avoid diseases that hit as you get older. Alzheimer’s will not be affecting you.

So how to train your brain and improve your cognitive skills?

1. Work your memory

Twyla Tharp, a NYC-based renowned choreographer has come up with the following memory workout:

When she watches one of her performances, she tries to remember the first twelve to fourteen corrections she wants to discuss with her cast without writing them down.

If you think this is anything less than a feat, then think again. In her book The Creative Habit she says that most people cannot remember more than three.

The practice of both remembering events or things and then discussing them with others has actually been supported by brain fitness studies.

Memory activities that engage all levels of brain operation—receiving, remembering and thinking—help to improve the function of the brain.

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Now, you may not have dancers to correct, but you may be required to give feedback on a presentation, or your friends may ask you what interesting things you saw at the museum. These are great opportunities to practically train your brain by flexing your memory muscles.

What is the simplest way to help yourself remember what you see? Repetition.

For example, say you just met someone new:

“Hi, my name is George”

Don’t just respond with, “Nice to meet you”. Instead, say, “Nice to meet you George.”

Got it? Good.

2. Do something different repeatedly

By actually doing something new over and over again, your brain wires new pathways that help you do this new thing better and faster.

Think back to when you were three years old. You surely were strong enough to hold a knife and a fork just fine. Yet, when you were eating all by yourself, you were creating a mess.

It was not a matter of strength, you see. It was a matter of cultivating more and better neural pathways that would help you eat by yourself just like an adult does.

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And guess what? With enough repetition you made that happen!

But how does this apply to your life right now?

Say you are a procrastinator. The more you don’t procrastinate, the more you teach your brain not to wait for the last minute to make things happen.

Now, you might be thinking “Duh, if only not procrastinating could be that easy!”

Well, it can be. By doing something really small, that you wouldn’t normally do, but is in the direction of getting that task done, you will start creating those new precious neural pathways.

So if you have been postponing organizing your desk, just take one paper and put in its right place. Or, you can go even smaller. Look at one piece of paper and decide where to put it: Trash? Right cabinet? Another room? Give it to someone?

You don’t actually need to clean up that paper; you only need to decide what you need to do with it.

That’s how small you can start. And yet, those neural pathways are still being built. Gradually, you will transform yourself from a procrastinator to an in-the-moment action taker.

3. Learn something new

It might sound obvious, but the more you use your brain, the better its going to perform for you.

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For example, learning a new instrument improves your skill of translating something you see (sheet music) to something you actually do (playing the instrument).

Learning a new language exposes your brain to a different way of thinking, a different way of expressing yourself.

You can even literally take it a step further, and learn how to dance. Studies indicate that learning to dance helps seniors avoid Alzheimer’s. Not bad, huh?

4. Follow a brain training program

The Internet world can help you improve your brain function while lazily sitting on your couch. A clinically proven program like BrainHQ can help you improve your memory, or think faster, by just following their brain training exercises.

5. Work your body

You knew this one was coming didn’t you? Yes indeed, exercise does not just work your body; it also improves the fitness of your brain.

Even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions. But it’s not just that–exercise actually helps your brain create those new neural connections faster. You will learn faster, your alertness level will increase, and you get all that by moving your body.

Now, if you are not already a regular exerciser, and already feel guilty that you are not helping your brain by exercising more, try a brain training exercise program like Exercise Bliss.

Remember, just like we discussed in #2, by training your brain to do something new repeatedly, you are actually changing yourself permanently.

6. Spend time with your loved ones

If you want optimal cognitive abilities, then you’ve got to have meaningful relationships in your life.  Talking with others and engaging with your loved ones helps you think more clearly, and it can also lift your mood.

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If you are an extrovert, this holds even more weight for you. At a class at Stanford University, I learned that extroverts actually use talking to other people as a way to understand and process their own thoughts.

I remember that the teacher told us that after a personality test said she was an extrovert, she was surprised. She had always thought of herself as an introvert. But then, she realized how much talking to others helped her frame her own thoughts, so she accepted her new-found status as an extrovert.

7. Avoid crossword puzzles

Many of us, when we think of brain fitness, think of crossword puzzles. And it’s true–crossword puzzles do improve our fluency, yet studies show they are not enough by themselves.

Are they fun? Yes. Do they sharpen your brain? Not really.

Of course, if you are doing this for fun, then by all means go ahead. If you are doing it for brain fitness, then you might want to choose another activity

8. Eat right – and make sure dark chocolate is included

Foods like fish, fruits, and vegetables help your brain perform optimally. Yet, you might not know that dark chocolate gives your brain a good boost as well.

When you eat chocolate, your brain produces dopamine. And dopamine helps you learn faster and remember better. Not to mention, chocolate contains flavonols, antioxidants, which also improve your brain functions.

So next time you have something difficult to do, make sure you grab a bite or two of dark chocolate!

The bottom line

Now that you know how to train your brain, it’s actually time to start doing.

Don’t just consume this content and then go on with your life as if nothing has changed. Put this knowledge into action and become smarter than ever!

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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